Ptolemaic Period

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134

The ba is an aspect of a person's non-physical being. After death, the ba was able to travel out from the tomb, but it had to periodically return to the tomb and be reunited with the mummy. The ba was usually represented as a bird with a human head, and sometimes with human arms.

Ba bird statuettes are among the wooden statues that might accompany a burial in the Late and Ptolemaic Periods. Sometimes they were prepared for attachment to a coffin or certain kinds of stelae. This small beautiful ba-bird is crowned with a sundisk, and wears a gold diadem and red fillet often seen on divine beings. It wears a large broad collar, and a djed-pillar amulet is suspended from its neck. The coloring is vivid, the wings are beautifully variegated, and gilding is applied over the face, collar, and disk.

Ba-bird, Wood, paint, gold leaf

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